DENGAINE (GAYNE), Thomas, of Great Yarmouth, Norf.
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Family and Education
m. bef. Aug. 1437, Margery.
Bailiff, Yarmouth Mich. 1418-19, 1424-5, 1428-9.1
Collector of customs and subsidies, Yarmouth 28 Nov. 1420-8 Mar. 1425, 27 Oct. 1433-26 Oct. 1435; tunnage and poundage 22 July-16 Aug. 1425.
J.p. Yarmouth 16 July 1429-Feb. 1438.
It is uncertain whether it was this same Thomas Dengaine or an older namesake who, in 1405, with his wife, Margaret, made a quitclaim to William, Lord Willoughby, of Margaret’s interest in ‘Sirewateres-manor’ in Walcot, Norfolk, along with other properties nearby. Margaret would appear to have been the widow of John Ellis II* (d.1401/2) of Yarmouth, and perhaps a member of the same family of Walcot to which the wives of Sir Robert Berney* and John Doreward* (the Speaker) belonged.2 Certainly, Thomas Dengaine the MP was sometimes described as ‘esquire’ and was clearly regarded as of the gentry of the shire, even though he held office as a bailiff of Yarmouth three times. During his first term as bailiff, he shared responsibility for making the electoral returns to the Parliament of 1419. His career as a customs official in the port lasted 15 years, his initial appointment dating from just before the opening of the Parliament of 1420, in which he was to represent Yarmouth for the first time. In November 1423 he joined with Sir Brian Stapleton’s sons in entering into recognizances with John Wakering, bishop of Norwich, for 100 marks, a transaction possibly connected with Wakering’s position as a member of the King’s Council. Returned to Parliament for a second time in 1425, during another term as bailiff, he recorded his own election on the indenture sent into Chancery. He is known to have attended three more local elections: at those for the Parliament of 1427 he offered mainprise for John Fastolf†, esquire; in 1429 as bailiff he drew up the returns once more; and in 1435 he was one of just four burgesses named as party to the indenture. Meanwhile, in May 1434, Dengaine had been among the Norfolk notables ordered to take an oath not to maintain lawbreakers in the county.3 Despite his service for nearly nine years as a j.p. in Yarmouth, he himself sometimes chose to ignore summonses from the central courts. In November 1440 and again in November 1443 he was pardoned his outlawry in London as ‘late of Yarmouth, esquire or gentleman’, for non-appearance when sued for debts totalling £20. One of his creditors was the widow of a London fishmonger, an association which suggests that he had once had an interest in the Yarmouth herring trade.4 These debts are not the only sign that Dengaine was sometimes in serious financial difficulties: a few years earlier, in 1437, he and his wife had sold to Sir John Fastolf KG all their messuages, tenements and lands in ‘Le Freresrowe’ in Yarmouth; and an estate known as ‘Dengaynes’ in Gorieston, not far away, later came into the possession of Fastolf’s friend, Sir John Paston†.5